In my last post, I briefly talked about the Disney’s live action remakes, and I thought I’d talk about them some more, a little bit more specifically. These won’t be full-fledged reviews.
Alice in Wonderland (and Alice Through the Looking Glass)
These aren’t remakes of course. I think they are meant to be continuations of the original cartoon. I watched the first in a theater and was incredibly bored. Watched bits of it again on TV and was still bored. I was surprised how much money it made. I wondered if it was like the Avatar-effect. People didn’t care for the story, but loved the visual effects? (This was one of the earlier 3D movies; even back in 2010, 3D hadn’t become a staple for blockbusters.) I watched the sequel on a plane and was bored there as well. I really shouldn’t be talking about these, should I? I will say though that these movies play with some feminist ideas, but not in a way that makes you care. I felt like they were shoving the feminism down your throat and not exploring the issues carefully like in Beauty and the Beast.
Oz the Great and Powerful
This one also is not a remake since Disney didn’t actually make any Oz movies in the past. But still, Oz stories are fairy tale-esque, so thought I’d give this a mention. It was objectively a bad movie. But it was the first time I watched anything in IMAX 3D, and that was the only reason I enjoyed it. Avatar-effect again. The worst thing about the movie really was the Wicked Witch and her stupid-ass reason to turn evil.
She got dumped. Also I really didn’t care for the Glinda-Oz relationship, it was completely unnecessary, and makes no sense in the context of The Wizard of Oz story that we all know and love. The China doll was cute though.
This one IS a remake, and a re-imagining to boot. I loved it when I watched in it in theater, but when I tried to watch it later, I couldn’t get past the horrible dialogue. I suppose the fresh idea was what made it so enjoyable to watch the first time around.
I’ve seen this movie get criticism similar to Oz the Great and Powerful – that Maleficent turns evil because of a man. This I think is unwarranted. Theodora (The Wicked Witch) turned evil because the guy she had a crush on for a day dumped her. Maleficent turned evil because her boyfriend of many years betrayed her for power, and he CUT OFF HER WINGS. Apples and oranges, folks. However, what is a legitimate criticism is that if she wasn’t evil to begin with, then WHY THE HELL was her name always Maleficent? Did the screen writers assume the audience is dumb and wouldn’t know that words with the “mal”-prefix imply evil? Why would anyone name a good fairy Maleficent?
This movie came out at a time when Disney was trying to change up the true-love-saves-the-day trope and it fills in the blank I mentioned here. I thought what they did with the prince was funny. Yes, it’s too bad that Prince Philip who was a cool character (other than being a creep) got turned into a mere prop for the fairies, but that’s what made it funny. (And he wasn’t a creep in this version!) But the WORST thing about this movie were the fairies. OH MY GOD were they AWFUL. They were the reason why I couldn’t get through the movie a second time.
Ugh I can’t.
Here, watch the Nostalgia Critic talk about it.
(It’s long. Just watch from 17:22)
For the record, I totally considered skipping this movie. But I wanted to watch Frozen Fever, which played in front of this movie. No, really.
The Jungle Book
Wait, is this even a fairy tale? Oh well, it’s a Disney remake. I thought it was a good remake, and they made a good update. They change the ending in a pretty major way and had an actual arc and message to the story.
But the more interesting discussion is around the original book.